Macau government wants 2007 to be year of integration of tourism, leisure, conventions and exhibitions

2 January 2007

Macau, China, 02 Jan – The head of the Macau government, Edmund Ho, said Sunday that 2007 would be the year of the progressive integration in the territory of the tourism. leisure, conventions and exhibitions industries.

In his New Year message, Ho also said that the integration of these industries, “is the first sign of the conversion of the predominant economic sector contributing to the expansion of the consumer market and the revitalization of some traditional areas of activity and the emergence of new opportunities.”

“The tourism sector, as part of the cultural industry with intrinsic competitive advantages, will have greater growth, and so we believe that this year is crucial for the appropriate diversification of our economy,” Ho said.

In his message, Ho also noted that for the first time the Beijing central government had integrated the development of the Special Administrative Region of Macau in China’s “Eleventh Five-year Plan” thus creating new opportunities for the sustainable development of the SARM.

Ho was speaking after a meeting in Beijing with President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to whom he presented the government lines of action for 2007.

The head of the SARM said that both the president and prime minister had reiterated their strong support for the Macau government under the “one country, two systems,” principle.

Ho also said that tax revenues for 2006 pointed to 27 billion patacas, of which 19 billion are from gaming and gambling.

He added that it was clear that Macau’s gaming and gambling revenues, which previously accounted for 80 percent or more of total tax revenues, now accounted for around 70 percent.

2006 gaming and gambling revenues, he said, had risen by around 20 percent on the previous year.

“Despite the gaming sector continuing, for some time, to be the pillar of the local economy, the SARM government will focus on perfecting the economic structure and encourage the diversification of the economy in order to not depend so much on the gaming sector,” Ho said.

Macau’s Secretary of State for the Economy and Finance, Francis Tam, recently said he was confident that gross gaming revenues in the Special Administrative Region (SAR) could exceed 50 billion patacas (US$6.25 billion).

In 2005 revenues from the gambling sector totaled 44.725 billion patacas, while gaming revenues totaled 45.8 billion patacas.

Gross revenues from the gaming sector in Macau at the end of the third quarter of this year, exceeded those of Las Vegas by US$433 million, making the SAR the world’s biggest gaming and gambling center.

The Macau government applies a direct tax of 35 percent on gaming and gambling plus 4 percent in indirect taxes and charges for each table and slot machine in a casino.

The Macau gaming sector has six operators – three concession holders and three sub-concession holders – of which just five are operating as the consortium between US company MGM and the daughter of gaming magnate Stanley Ho, Pansy Ho, as yet has no facility.

Stanley Ho, through Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM), runs 17 of the Macau’s 24 casinos, Galaxy Resorts has five gaming facilities, Las Vegas Sands has one casino (the largest in the world) and Wynn Resorts has one casino.

The consortium between Melco and Australia’s PBL, with Lawrence Ho, son of Stanley Ho, as yet operates no casinos, but runs several slot machine rooms.
In 2007 it plans to open the Crown hotel/casino, on Taipa island and a year later, the City of Dreams casino, also on Taipa.

In 2007 the Venetian hotel/casino is due to open, in the land fill areas between Taipa and Coloane, which will be operated by Las Vegas Sands, as well as Grande Lisboa, Stanley Ho’s new casino located in Macau’s biggest building and Pansy Ho’s MGM casino.

In 2008 a casino and hotel complex run by Hong Kong’s Galaxy group is due to open in the landfill area between Taipa and Coloane islands.

With the opening of another casino in Macau on December 23, owned by the Group headed by Stanley Ho, Macau now has 24 casinos.
In 2002, when the monopoly on gaming and gaming held by Stanley Ho’s Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM) ended, there were 11 casinos in Macau. (macauhub)